x How to make SAFE money via Trade Packs and obtain a Farm Cart
I want to share my basic strategy that I use to make money via Trade Packs and obtain the coveted Farm Cart in the process. Unfortunately for some, my guide is specifically written for Haranya (East continent); however, the same principals can be applied elsewhere. This guide will focus specifically on safe continental trade without the need of a boat or traveling to un-safe PvP regions.
For those who may be unfamiliar, the Farm Cart is the vehicle you may have seen buzzing about popular trade routes, often with steam pouring from the engine. The Farm Cart allows you to essentially triple your money making ability via Trade Packs for relatively the same time invested. More on this later.
Trade Packs are a method for making money, obtaining rare resources or Gilda Stars by transporting goods across the game world.
Trade packs can be crafted at specialty workstations in various regions. They typically require two types of resources that can be grown on a garden/farm or purchased from the Auction House. The final and universally required ingredient is a Quality Certificate which can be purchased from any General Merchant (50 silver). Once crafted, the user may transport the trade pack to a Gold Trader for reward. Intercontinental trading allows the user to turn in trade packs to a Gilda Star or Resource Trader. Continental trade packs can only be turned in to Gold Traders and they will be the focus of this guide.
Rewards from Gold Traders vary by a number of factors. The most dominate being the number of zones the player must travel through from the point the trade pack was crafted to the Gold Trader it will be turned in to. The second factor which determines the amount of the reward is the popularity of the trade route. The highest reward percentage that I have seen thus far has been 130% of the base reward. This percentage varies based on the number of players that have turned in the same trade pack at the same location within a given period of time. The more popular the route, the lower the payout percentage. Unfortunately, I do not know the exact period of time or the number of trade packs it takes to decrease this value. Please feel free to contribute and I will update this guide.
A third factor, which I have yet to personally experience, is a Negotiation Bonus. From what I have deduced, once a certain proficiency level is achieved in Commerce, the ability receive an additional Negation Bonus is opened up. My Commerce proficiency score is currently 12,000 and I have yet to receive a bonus. I will update this section after more research.
Choosing a trade route
As mentioned before, the number of zones traveled through determines the base payout of a trade pack. Trade pack recipes are zone specific with each zone offering about two recipes each. Once crafted, however, the trade pack can be taken to any Gold Trader (within the same continent that it was crafted). The obvious goal here is to choose a route that will allow you to travel through the most zones, in the least amount of time. Even if you only partially travel through a zone, it counts towards your final payout.
The second factor to consider is the cost of the resources needed to craft the trade pack. The most profitable method, pending that you own land, is to grow all of your material. This will cost labor and time but you will level your proficiencies along the way and end up making more gold in the process. Some materials are easier to grow/maintain than others. Since each zone that supports the ability to craft trade packs contains multiple recipes, write them both down and visit the seed, sapling and livestock merchants to determine the cost.
To add further efficiency to the process once a trade route is established, visit the trade pack crafting station in the destination zone near the Gold Trader. This zone will offer different recipes than your initial trade route. If you are able to gather resources for both trade routes, you will have a round trip process that will eliminate the need to use hereafter stones to repeat the route. I also highly recommend adding one of the zones as your Recall point as this will reduce the amount of hereafter stones used while grinding trade routes.
My Trade Route
Personally, the most profitable trade route has been from Arcum Iris, to Lutesong Harbor in Villanelle. This route allows the player to travel through four zones, while only spending a short time in most of them. The trade pack crafting station is near the north end of Arcum Iris so this zone is covered quickly. The next zone, Tigerspine Mountains, will be the longest to cover out of the four zones. The third zone, Mahadevi, offers a short-cut by crossing a river and the player only has to travel halfway through Villanelle to reach the Gold Trader at the north end of Lutesong Harbor.
My Trade Packs
I craft the Arcum Iris Lavaspice pack (60 Turmeric, 50 Dried Flowers, 1 Quality Certificate) which usually pays 125%-130% when delivered to Lutesong Harbor. This equates to roughly 5.9 gold per pack. South of Lutesong Harbor is a crafting station which requires 25 Goat Wool, 50 Dried Flowers and a Quality Certificate. Taking this pack back to Acrum Iris, traveling through four zones total, also pays 5.9 gold when multiplied by the full 130%.
My Strategy for Trade Pack Resources
I grow all my materials for trade packs to maximize profit. You can buy 100 Turmeric Seeds for about four gold. Based on your Gathering proficiency, you will harvest anywhere from 3-4 Turmeric per mature plant. Turmeric, which is best grown in an Arid climate, takes about four hours to mature, and a bit longer in other climates.
Azaleas are a very cheap flower, which mature in roughly 30 minutes. If you have things to do in town such as smelting, or perusing the auction house, take advantage of this ‘down time’ by growing and harvesting Azaleas on your farm. I will throw down 100 Azalea seeds for roughly 25 silver which nets me between 200 and 300 flowers. Once harvested, they need to be turned to Dried Flowers. This is achieved with a Blue Salt Knife which can be purchased from any General Merchant for a reasonable price. The Blue Salt Knife converts flowers in groups of 10 to dried flowers and generally yields 12-14 Dried Flowers per stack of 10. This process requires labor and adds to your gathering proficiency. Dried Flowers are the cheapest ingredient in this pack and if time or labor are a concern, these can always be purchased from the Auction House.
For the trip from Villanelle to Arcum Iris, you have the choice of using Cherries or Goat Fur to accompany your 50 Dried Flowers. I experimented with growing Cherry Trees and was very disappointed with the results. The tree took several days to mature, is only able to be harvested about every 19 hours, and produced 2-4 cherries per tree. Granted, I grew them in an Arid climate which is not ideal, but the low yields coupled with the large amount of space they take up, it just wasn’t worth it. You need 8 cherries per pack and with the high cost on the Auction House, I don’t recommend using Cherries at this time. Goats are an expensive investment at 1.5 gold each, plus the need to feed them Combined Feed on a daily basis. Combined Feed is relatively cheap on the Auction House. Despite the start-up costs of goats, they can become quite profitable. In an ideal Temperate climate, the Goat Fur may be trimmed every 6 hours with yields higher than the Cherry Tree. Mine are raised in an Arid climate and have about a nine hour cool-down between sheerings. Be sure to feed your goats daily or they can become ill.
Keeping a balance between Turmeric, Goat Fur, and the mutually required Dried Flowers on your gardens/farms will allow you to efficiently run trade packs round-trip without the need to teleport. Experiment to find the ideal balance between all crops and livestock to fit your land situation and playing style.
Executing Trade Routes, via Donkey
Now that you have identified your trade route and potentially a return route and you have identified all of the required resources, it’s time to haul your goods. The player is overburdened when carrying a trade pack which slows movement speed dramatically. Riding a regular mount in most cases will exacerbate the slow movement speed. The one exception is the Donkey mount which can be obtained from an early trading quest or from the Marketplace. Traveling by donkey is still slow but it’s a big improvement over walking. If you plan on making money via trade routes, obtain a donkey as quickly as possible.
Once you have your Donkey, you will want to get it to level 20 in quick fashion. The Donkey will level by moving throughout the world or by the player killing mobs while the Donkey is summoned. I farmed a large mob for some time to get my Donkey to level 20 as quickly as possible. It was a grind but it’s worth it as you receive several level 20 abilities.
At level 20, the Donkey now has the ability to eat Carrots, or rather, be tempted by them. This mount skill greatly increases the move speed of the Donkey and riding player. Use of this mount skill requires Carrots to be in the player’s inventory, uses a small amount of mana and lasts for 1 minute. At this point, consider adding carrots to your rotation of crops. Carrots take less than an hour to grow. If space, labor or time are a concern, you can always buy carrots directly from the Auction House. The improved move speed will take some of the sting out of the long trade routes. Beware to avoid being attacked by mobs when drifting away from main roads while the Carrot ability is engaged. Attacking mobs will remove the speed boost and you will be required to wait for the 60 second cool-down before tempting your fury friend with another Carrot. In addition to Carrots, the Donkey can now wear a full set of armor at level 20. There are various pieces of armor which grant increased move speeds.
To add further efficiency to your speed, while walking or riding the Donkey mount, visit a skill trader and equip the Songcraft skill, if you don’t already have this as one of your skill trees. Changing skills will cost you about 50 silver and if you already have three skills selected, you will not lose your attained skill rank in any category. You can switch back at any time for a small fee. The reason I recommend this is that the Songcraft skill tree offers the Quickstep skill where the player plays their lute, for a very low mana cost/cool-down, that improves move speed even further. As Quckstep increases is rank, so does the move speed buff! The buff will also be applied to nearby players.
With a level 20+ Donkey, wearing full pet armor, using the Carrot power, all coupled with the Songcraft move speed skill, I’m able to complete the aforementioned trade run, 1-way, in 15 minutes. In a little over an hour, I’m able to make over 20 gold. Not a bad profit for the time invested! (For those that are curious, the trade route I described requires approximately 15 Carrots per run)
Obtaining the coveted Farm Cart If you have followed this guide so far, you are making a substantial income and your trade routes should feel very routine. You could certainly stop here, but I recommend making a long-term investment by saving for a Farm Cart. As mentioned in the beginning of the guide, the Farm Cart is a vehicle that allows a player to transport up to 3 trade packs (2 in cargo, 1 on your back) at a time. You can now triple your money for roughly the same time invested. Unlike the many ships in the game, the Farm Cart requires no Gilda Stars! So, if you have a long-term goal of saving up for one the many available ships or houses that require Gilda Stars, this guide will not impede your progress and if anything, will assist you in achieving that goal more quickly. A blueprint is required before you can begin manufacturing the various pieces required for the Farm Cart. The blueprint or design may be purchased from any General Merchant for 50 gold. This may seem expensive but unfortunately, this is not the most expensive component of the Farm Cart.
A single Thunderstruck Log will likely be the most difficult component to obtain and is required in the construction of the Farm Cart. Thunderstruck Trees/Logs are granted to lucky garden/farm owners by the RNG gods. There is a small (and I mean small) chance that lightening can strike a tree, turning it into a Thunderstruck Tree. The tree may be harvested and when broken down it yields 4 ThunderStruck logs. Fortunately, only a single Thunderstruck Log is required for the Farm Cart. Due to the rarity and high demand for the item, they are very expensive on the Auction House. As of the time that I have written this guide, Thunderstruck Logs have ranged from 200 – 300 gold. The market for these can have 50 gold swings in as little as a few hours depending on supply. If you are patient, you can watch All, Faction or Trade chat for people willing to sell the logs to you directly. I managed to get mine this way which was a discount of about 20 gold over the cheapest Auction House price. Remember to proceed with caution whenever trading with anyone.
In addition to the expensive Thunderstruck Log, other notable expenses required to construct the Farm Cart are two Small Seed Oil and one Opaque Polish. Each item will cost roughly 5-6 gold on the Auction House at the time of writing this guide. A reasonable amount of Lumber and Ore are the remaining materials that are more easily obtained via Mining or if you prefer, purchased from the Auction House.
Complete Farm Cart Recipe: 4x Cart Wheel (10x Lumber each, 10x Iron ingot each) 1x Cart Engine (2x Fine Lumber [10x Lumber and 1x Small Seed Oil each], 1x Silver Ingot, 1x Archeum Ingot 1x Cart Shaft (1x Thunderstruck Log, 1x Sturdy Ingot [8x Iron Ingot, 1x Copper Ingot and 1x Silver Ingot + 1x Opaque Polish] 1x Farm Cart Design (Blueprint)
Once you have all of the required ingredients, the Farm Cart components and the cart itself may be assembled at a Carpentry Workstation. This will add proficiency points to Machining and no prerequisite skill level is required to construct.
If Trading is going to be your long-term source of income, then I recommend saving for the Farm Cart resources as soon as possible. Use income from trade packs transported by Donkey, selling unused items in your inventory and any other means of income that you have to save money. You may even consider asking a fellow guild member for a loan to help you achieve your goal faster. I was able to come up with the required capital in about 1.5 weeks via Donkey trade runs.
You have your Farm Cart, now what? Go make money! Seriously, why are you still reading this guide? If you are still reading, then your patience and reading comprehension have paid-off because I have more efficiencies to share with you. The investing never ends. Similar to the Donkey’s Carrot on a Stick, the Farm Cart also has an ability that increases move speed by 50% for a whopping 8 minutes! The Farm Cart does not increase in level as mounts do so there is no level requirement and the ability can be used right away, pending you have the required fuel.
The ability requires Eco-Fuel and like many things in ArcheAge, it isn’t cheap. As I have mentioned with the trade pack materials themselves, you will make more money long-term if you are able to produce all the goods yourself. The same is true for the Eco-Fuel. Unfortunately, you may not have the required proficiency to do so yet. Eco-Fuel requires Hay Bales and Fertilizer (scat) and must be collected from an Animal Pen or Coop. Animal Pens and Coops require higher levels of proficiency in the Husbandry skill before they can be constructed. They also must be built using the Farmer’s Workstation which require the Scarecrow Garden and other materials to construct. If you have followed my preferred trade pack method which requires raising Goats for their fur, you will be slowly increasing your Husbandry proficiency and over time, you will reach the proficiency required to construct Animal Pens and begin collecting your own fertilizer (oh joy!) and craft your own Eco-Fuel.
For now, you will likely need to buy Eco-Fuel from the Auction House. At the time of writing this guide, Eco-Fuel sells between 1 and 1.5 gold each. If you will be following my preferred trade pack route, each run will require two eco-fuels. One trade run will yield close to 16 gold for all three trade packs. The 2 gold investment in Eco-Fuel is well worth it. My preferred trade route will take approximately 30 minutes by Farm Cart alone and only 16 minutes by Farm Cart using Eco-Fuel. Eventually, you will be able to begin crafting your own Eco-Fuel which will save you about 2 gold per run.
Using Eco Fuel, transporting three trade packs at a time using my preferred, round-trip trade route via the Farm Cart, you can easily achieve about 65 gold in a little over an hour! (all with zero risk of losing your packs to pirates or other factions) 1 gold per minute is fantastic!
Tips for Farm Cart Trading: My preferred trade route has a few shortcuts that can be executed via Donkey which require the player and mount to drift off of the main road at times. The Donkey is a workhorse and can handle rough terrain; the Farm Cart cannot! Stick to the main roads in the Farm Cart. You will inevitably look at your map and think that you can shave several minutes off your route by cutting through a field but you will likely be met with disappointment. The Farm Cart easily gets stuck on steep and/or rocky terrain. I recommend equipping the basic skill which allows you to re-spawn your Farm Cart in the vent that it gets stuck. Be advised that this skill has a substantial cool-down so try to avoid getting stuck more than once on a single run.
I am yet to confirm if anyone outside of your party is able to access the driver’s seat or the trade packs stored in either of the cart’s two cargo bays. Out of paranoia, I always enable the Owner’s Mark ability prior to loading or unloading my Farm Cart. This ability prevents anyone from boarding your Farm Cart for a short duration. I’d rather be safe than sorry.
While the Donkey can only support a single rider, the Farm Cart can handle additional passengers. Consider inviting guild members that do not have a Farm Cart to ride on top of the cargo bays.
Now that money is no longer a major obstacle, consider using your profits to assist other guild members in obtaining their own Farm Carts to further strengthen your combined money making abilities.
Summary: There are countless ways to make money in ArcheAge. This method may not fit your play style and you can easily argue that intercontinental trading or other options are more profitable. This is simply the method that I use and believe it is a great way to earn money with no risk of losing your investments. This may also be used as a stepping-stone to the larger, more profitable intercontinental trade routes. This method is flexible and offers various optional efficiencies if you plan to invest for the long-term. Please feel free to correct any mistakes that I have made or share your own tips for trade routes. I hope that this assists you in providing a steady stream of income and paints a clear path for how to get there. Thanks for reading!